Singapore

Holland Village businesses worry about carpark closure

Businesses are preparing for a slowdown, with mixed-use development to come up in the area

Visitors to Holland Village will soon find parking spaces harder to come by, as its main carpark makes way for a mixed use development that will take seven years to complete.

The open air carpark serving the enclave, popular for its eateries and bars, will close for development on Aug 13, according to Housing Board notices handed out to motorists from Wednesday.

This will mean a loss of some 400 parking lots during the works, which The Straits Times understands will be completed by the second quarter of 2025.

Alternative parking is available at nearby Urban Redevelopment Authority carparks opposite Blocks 18 and 21 Holland Drive, as well as HDB carparks at Block 5A Holland Close and Block 10A Holland Drive, according to the notice.

A consortium led by Far East Organisation won the tender for the Holland Village extension in May, with plans for a mix of office, residential and retail units as well as more public spaces for weekend markets and outdoor performances.

A new underground public carpark that is part of the new development will create 308 lots for cars and 56 for motorcycles in addition to the minimum set out by the Land Transport Authority, which is generally based on a development's gross floor area. It is understood that existing season parking holders will be transferred to an HDB carpark nearby.

But businesses in Holland Village are bracing for a slowdown.

Mr William Lim, who runs a fruit stall in the wet market adjacent to the carpark, said business would be hit hard as many of the 40-year-old stall's regular customers drive.

"When the development is completed it will be a new era here, although there is a chance that rentals will also go up... hopefully we can keep the stall going in the meantime," Mr Lim, 55, added.

Madam Mary Lim, who runs a Chinese food stall at the Holland Village Food Centre, expects business to drop by about half after the carpark's closure.

"The carpark gets so crowded during lunch because people who work nearby come to eat. If it rains and they have to park further away, they will probably go elsewhere," Madam Lim, 60, said in Mandarin.

"Most of us have been here for decades. If business cannot be sustained, it will be difficult to move elsewhere."

Crystal Jade Group said the carpark's closure will affect business at its two-storey Crystal Jade Kitchen, but it expects the impact to be minimal, given Holland Village's public transport connections.

Mr Ng Whye Hoe, owner of Pet Lovers Centre, which has a branch at Holland Village, said: "I'm quite positive about the new development. It will be pedestrian-centric with a lot of al fresco dining, so I think the DNA of the place will remain the same. It's short-term pain for long-term gain."

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